Verona vs Lazio
Marchetti looked dejected as he watched his teammates miss a chance to win.
Verona 0 Lazio 0
Cana (75, sent off)
We were extremely wasteful as we missed SIX clear chances to score. One on ones, close range shots, nothing was going in for us. The only positive was that we kept the defence tight and restricted Verona to only one shot in the game.
However title rivals Napoli won 3-1 against Latina meaning our lead was cut to 3 points.
Mihaylov, Pilud, Maietta (C), Marques, Antonelli, Donati, Romulo, Hallfredsson, Iturbe, Marquinho, Toni.
Marchetti, Cole, Cavanda, Darmian, Cana, Bonera, Mauri (C), Motta, Ince, Candreva, Klose.
Lazio vs NK Maribor - Europa League Group B
Alvaro Gonzalez inspired victory with his first appearance of the season.
Lazio 2 NK Maribor 0
Ince (41, pen)
Lazio managed to secure their place in the Europe League knockout round with a 2-0 win over Maribor. The Slovenian outfit are now unable to progress from the group after the loss and look likely to finish bottom due to their terrible goal difference.
I made significant changes to the squad with Ince, Bellusci, Radu and Darmian the only regular starters who played in this game. We gave our usual dominant performance and restricted Maribor to not even managing to have a single shot in the game which I was extremely pleased with.
It was the first game that I used Uruguayan playmaker Gonzalez this season and he didn't disappoint. He is quite a bullish player but also very skillful and has attracted interest from Roberto Martinez at Everton as we near December and the January transfer window. Belgian wing back Luis Cavanda who has been consistently impressive whenever I have called him into the team, set up the first goal as he played a clever reverse pass that Gonzalez hit first time straight into the top corner.
It was Candava who set up the second goal and earnt his second assist of the night as he was brought down in the box during a corner. Tom Ince stepped up and buried the resulting spot kick to guarantee our spot in the knockout rounds.
Berisha, Lulic, Darmian, Radu, Bellusci, Cavanda, Ledesma (C), Biglia, Ince, Gonzalez, Keita.
Handanovic, Hadzic, Kozar, Arghus, Matijasevic, Bolcina, Ceppelini, Klebcar, Zurej, Tavares (C), Mendy.
Lazio vs Genoa
Lazio vs Genoa saw Serie A's top two goalscorers in action.
Lazio 1 Genoa 1
18th placed Genoa visited the Olimpico and despite being in the relegation zone, gave us a scare as we looked to put some distance between Napoli and ourselves. It was also battle of the two top scorers as Miroslav Klose faced Alberto Gilardino. Klose hitting 7 in the league this year and Gilardino notching 9. Motta and Mauri were suspended for the game after picking up 5 yellow cards each.
Despite the attention being on to the two veteran strikers, it was Moussa Konate who was giving our defence something to think about. The 20 year old Senegalese striker really worried the back five with his running and physical presence. His pressure paid off in the 17th minute as he barged passed Giuseppe Bellusci and buried a venomous strike when one-on-one with Marchetti.
We tried to get into our usual rhythm but Italian wonderkid Mattia Perin was in inspiring form in the Genoa net as he stopped Candreva on several occasions. Konate looked constantly lively and made sure the defence stayed on their toes but eventually we found the equalizer. Candreva whipped in a corner and on-loan centre back Daniele Bonera climbed highest to final put a goal on the board.
We were unable to find a second goal and after the break Bonera managed to keep Konate quiet. The draw leaves us only 1 point clear at the summit of Serie A as Napoli picked up a win at mid-table Udinese.
Marchetti, Cole, Darmian, Bellusci, Radu, Bonera (C), Biglia, Felipe Anderson, Ince, Candreva, Klose.
Perin, De Maio, Gamberini, Portanova (C), Motta, Bertolacci, Cofie, De Ceglie, Konate, Gilardino, Calaio.
Lazio vs Wigan - Europa League Group B
Keita has been touted as a big star for the future.
Lazio 3 Wigan 2
Ince (17, pen)
McKay (45+1, 90)
In our penultimate Europa League Group game, Wigan gave us another great match. Uwe Rosler's men still had everything to play for as a win would keep them in touch with 2nd place FC Basel heading in to the final group game. As we had nothing to play for I gave the fringe players a run out and a chance to impress me as they matched the 3-2 scoreline we played out with Wigan in England last month.
Despite the game essentially being a runout for my reserves, they battled hard and took a 2-0 lead in 36 minutes. Ince dispatching a penalty and Lulic scoring a simple tap in after good work from my young Spanish star Balde Keita.
Billy McKay hit back just before half time but in a tight second half, Keita hit his 1st goal for the club two minutes from time. McKay hit a consolation with seconds to go but there wasn't time to continue as Mr. Weiz blew his whistle and Wigan were eliminated from the competition.
Berisha, Lulic, Ciani, Dias, Cana, Cavanda, Felipe Anderson, Padoin, Ince, Gonzalez (C), Keita.
Carson, Whittaker, Barnett, Ramis (C), Taylor, Perch, Maloney, McClean, Watson, Fortune, McKay.
I have blogged up until halfway into the month because there will be a 2 week break for international duty. We restart our campaign away at Juventus on the 23rd so this gives us a chance at revenge after losing the Italian Super Cup to the reigning Serie A Champions.
It hasn't been a great start to the month but we've had a lot of games in a short space of time. I'm extremely happy that we have qualified from our group with ease in the Europa League and that we have extended our unbeaten run to 19 games. But the two draws against two teams in the bottom 5 were not good enough. We seem to have taken our foot off the gas and that is unacceptable as our position in the league right now is to good to throw away. Our next two league games are Juventus (A
) and AC Milan (H)
so we must regain our concentration as it will be extremely hard to remain unbeaten against two of Italy's giants.